Our System Navigation Initiative

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show the occurrence of babies born with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities at 13.87%. Signs show that the number of cases being diagnosed with a disability is increasing compared to a decade earlier. While researchers work to understand how best to reduce risk factors, in most cases after diagnosis it is left up to parents to understand the options available to support their child’s needs. However, locating and understanding community resources and funding eligibility can be difficult under the best of circumstances. That’s why AWS Foundation has made system navigation a top initiative. We want to bridge the information gap bringing families, caregivers and support organizations together, creating more opportunities that could best improve health outcomes and quality of life.

Working with more than 40 families and 70-plus area service providers, we’ve continued to hear how they invest countless hours searching for information, placing calls and trying to network with others in similar situations. A number of non-profits spend a substantial amount of time maintaining information beyond the programs and services they provide. We believe that a comprehensive system designed to bring those individual efforts together under one umbrella is a more effective solution, saving everyone time and resources by bringing synergy to overcome challenges.

There are many great organizations working diligently to assist others to navigate the system. It’s an ever growing and expensive challenge with which many struggle. AWS Foundation’s greatest strength is funding. By championing the system navigation initiative, encouraging collaboration and reducing duplication of efforts, we believe establishing a vibrant online system with support staff presence to guide people to resources and information is within our grasp.

If you would like to learn more about the system navigation project, go to AWSFoundation.org/who-we-are/#priority_initiatives or contact Vicki Lee Johnson at vjohnson@awsfoundation.org.